Global Markets: Dollar gains, stocks scale fresh highs on data, trade deal
By Herbert Lash NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar rose while key world and stock indexes on Wall Street scaled new records on Thursday as the U.S.-China trade deal, strong corporate earnings and encouraging U.S. economic data lifted equity markets. Oil rose as the long-awaited Phase 1 trade deal brought some relief to markets, while gold prices slid briefly below the psychological level of $1,500 an ounce as the upbeat data signalled a healthy U.S.
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar rose while key world and stock indexes on Wall Street scaled new records on Thursday as the U.S.-China trade deal, strong corporate earnings and encouraging U.S. economic data lifted equity markets.
Oil rose as the long-awaited Phase 1 trade deal brought some relief to markets, while gold prices slid briefly below the psychological level of $1,500 an ounce as the upbeat data signalled a healthy U.S. economy.
U.S. retail sales increased for a third straight month in December and the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits dropped for a fifth straight week last week, indicating the labour market remained strong.
Other data showed a gauge of manufacturing activity in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region rebounded in January to its highest in eight months, leading the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia to call the factory outlook the brightest in more than 18 months.
Upbeat earnings from Morgan Stanley and a tech rally on Wall Street added to optimism from a trade deal investors hope will take the edge off a contentious 18-month U.S.-Sino dispute that has roiled markets and crimped global growth.
Stocks surged at the close on Wall Street to push the Nasdaq up slightly more than 1% and lead investors to wonder how much higher prices can go on valuations already at historic levels.
"It's a melt-up," said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey. "It makes everybody look stupid," he said, referring to the purchase of stocks at such high levels..
The market's price-to-earnings ratio of 18.4 times earnings for the S&P 500 is the highest since 2002, leading Bank of America research to say the market is running on fumes, as the benchmark index surpassed the bank's year-end forecast of 3,300.
Only a geopolitical event will curb an equity rally that has been largely fuelled by the cutting of interest rates last year by the Federal Reserve and its expansionary monetary policy, Saluzzi said.
Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, said the trade deal has underpinned a positive outlook for risk assets, especially emerging market stocks.
However, Haefele said investors must understand the deal's limitations. "We see the deal as representing a partial calming rather than an end to trade tensions," he said.
MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> gained 0.55%, setting all-time and closing highs. Its index for emerging market stocks rose 0.23%.
U.S. stocks also climbed to new highs, as did Canadian shares on Bay Street in Toronto.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 267.42 points, or 0.92%, to 29,297.64. The S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 27.52 points, or 0.84%, to 3,316.81 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 98.44 points, or 1.06%, to 9,357.13.
Technology stocks <.SPLRCT> provided the biggest boost on Wall Street, with Apple Inc
The market capitalisation of Google parent Alphabet
The Philadelphia Semiconductor index <.SOX> climbed 1.7%.
European shares edged higher but Asia saw China's biggest stocks take a slight dip overnight. [.SSEC]
The pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> rose 0.22%. The dollar index erased earlier losses to rise on the data.
"The data flurry was positive, particularly the Philly Fed number," said Greg Anderson, global head of foreign exchange strategy at BMO Capital Markets in New York. It "reduces the probability for a recession, which was low already."
The dollar index <.DXY> rose 0.08%, with the euro
Crude oil gains of more than 1% were capped after the International Energy Agency said it expected oil production to outpace demand.
China committed to buying more than $50 billion in additional U.S. oil, liquefied natural gas and other energy products over two years, according to the trade deal.
Central banks were active, with both Turkey and South Africa cutting their interest rates again after policy meetings.
The European Central Bank published a largely upbeat set of meeting minutes ahead of a speech from its chief, Christine Lagarde.
U.S. Treasury yields rose slightly on the strong economic data and bank earnings.
The benchmark 10-year
U.S. gold futures
(Reporting by Herbert Lash; additional reporting by Karen Brettell in New York, Marc Jones in London; editing by Jonathan Oatis, Nick Zieminski and Cynthia Osterman)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
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